Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s Hospitality in the News topic: how to become a cook with no experience.
It’s officially summer and restaurant job openings are still hot on the hiring market. Restaurant Dive reports that a quarter of a million foodservice jobs were added in the first quarter of this year. Though the industry is still behind pre-pandemic job levels, this is the closest gap in openings vs filled positions that we’ve seen since February 2020.
One of the most popular positions in the restaurant industry is for cooks. This position has consistently been in demand since before the pandemic but was intensified due to the influx of job openings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2020 and 2030, cook positions will grow 25% – meaning that there will be tons of work opportunities for those interested in getting into a culinary position.
But if you’ve never worked as one before, how do you become a cook with no experience? And what do restaurant managers look for in a great employee? We’ll answer those questions below.
How to Become a Cook with No Experience
Start to think about what career path you want to take
If you don’t have any restaurant industry experience, it’s important to figure out what options you’ll have as you enter the culinary field. There are several different types of cook positions depending on your experience and interest level. Prep cooks, line cooks, and chefs are all popular positions you’ll find at a restaurant or catering company. And sometimes when a position requires you to have multiple different responsibilities, you’re referred to simply as a cook.
You’ll also want to consider where you could work. Restaurants, hotels, country clubs, catering companies, universities –– these are just a few locations that employ cooks.
Even if you don’t plan to have a lifelong culinary career, you should know the possible paths you can take in the hospitality industry. This will be useful when finding your first job, that way you’ll know what positions to apply for. After getting through this first step, you’re well on your way to learning how to become a cook with no previous experience.
Learn everything you need to know about the position
Now that you know what path you’re going to take in the culinary field, it’s time to learn everything there is to learn. When applying for jobs, you want to be knowledgeable whether you’ve worked as a cook before or not. Here are some things you should do to improve your knowledge:
- Learn popular restaurant lingo
- Practice your knife skills (check out some videos on YouTube for reference)
- Find your talents/interests in the kitchen
One key action you’ll want to take is to get your Food Safety Certification which is available online. Not only is it (often) required by employers to work around food, but it also teaches you everything you need to know about safely handling food.
Knowledge is power, so learn as much as possible before filling out your first applications.
Start researching and filling out applications
Like we mentioned earlier, the job market is just about bursting with opportunities for cooks. You’ll probably have your choice of where you can work, so take your time. Don’t hesitate to fill out applications for multiple jobs.
You can also consider asking for referrals from people you know who work in the industry. Word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to find the job you’re looking for in terms of culture, leadership, etc. Plus, your industry friend may be able to put in a good word for you when heading in for an interview.
Understand you may need to start small
It’s possible that you’ll get hired right away in a cook position – especially because most businesses will need to conduct training to acclimate you to their operations. It’s also possible that management will want you to get started as a busser or dishwasher while you get used to that establishment before moving up to a cook position. But don’t worry; this is a great opportunity to get comfortable before you jump into your desired position.
When learning how to become a cook with no experience, understanding what managers are looking for in an ideal employee can be beneficial – especially during the interview process. Because LGC has been partnering closely with hotels and restaurants for almost 20 years, we know what it takes to be a great cook. Hiring managers will be looking for candidates who are reliable, hardworking, and flexible. Having these traits will lead to success when working in a kitchen.
If you’re looking for a position with tons of opportunities and room for growth, going down a culinary path is a great option. If you want to learn how to become a cook with no experience, look no further than this quick guide.
Did you know that LGC works with culinary professionals around the country to connect them with flexible work? Contact us (or apply) today to learn more.